By Moustafa Hamze*
HAVANA TIMES – With Brazil’s runoff round of presidential elections set to take place this Sunday, October 28th, the Workers’ Party’s (PT) mistakes have become crystal clear today. Several movements within the PT, members and supporters, Leftist groups which were its allies in the past and the press, have been pointing these out for some time now.
The warnings emphasized the need for the PT to carry out a self-criticism of all of the mistakes it made during the time it led the South American giant.
The SPD (Participatory Democratic Socialism) Bulletin #214, which was published in May 2016, included the article: “Has Brazil’s Workers’ Party final hour finally come?”, and touched upon other issues such as:
The PT should understand that if the President of the Republic was impeached, this impeachment came from Brazilian society.
Leaving their trenches and concentrating, as a democratic opposition party, on the interests of the people they say they represent and not superimpose their interests of power on society’s interests and the interests of the Brazilian nation as a whole.
Rebuild its electoral base of support, which has been weakened and worn down by more than 12 years of PT governments and the impeachment of its last president.
Abstaining from pitting Brazilians against one another in an erratic, irresponsible and anti-Brazilian way, like Cuban rapid response brigades do today.
Guide PT interests with society’s interests and not extrapolate these interests to any national or foreign leader/populist.
Concentrate on Brazil’s national affairs, respecting its people’s right to self-determination, because we have followed the revelations of Operation Lava Jato (Car wash) scandal with astonishment, in which Petrobras money was used to make huge payments to back PT allies presidential campaigns of South American, Central American and even Caribbean “politicians”, which is an attack on Brazil’s national sovereignty.
Abandoning aspirations of this Leftist Imperialism, which was born in the 20th century and a result of the Sao Paulo Forum, allowing authoritarian Leftist regimes to spring up all over South America which weakened or put the democratic Rule of Law of their respective countries at risk.
Sometime after another article talked about the same subject and pointed out :
The PT should carry out a self-criticism of the more than 12 years of PT governments, including the biggest mistakes it made, essentially relating to political corruption along with parties of its base made up of large, medium and small-size parties, left-wing, central and right-wing parties. As well as its achievements, notably:
The great social progress that Brazilian society experienced with poverty levels declining, students from slums having access to universities and different grant programs, as well as students enrolling en masse, regardless of the social class they belong to.
The Clean Slate law that was proposed to Congress by the people and signed off by president Ignacio Lula de Silva, which prevents politicians at any level of government (municipality, state, federation) from aspiring to run for office if they have been convicted of a crime in an appeals court.
The Plea Bargaining Law, signed off by President Dilma Rousseff, to tackle organized crime whether that was drug and arms trafficking or political corruption, to name a few.
At no point in this timeline did the PT carry out an analysis of the issue and it committed itself to defending former president Lula by summoning mass protests of its members and allied social movements, as well as making statements on different media platforms, discrediting Operation Lava Jato, especially Judge Sergio Moro and more recently the judge at the Appeals Court in Porto Alegre city, Rio Grande de Sul, who ratified the sentence announced at the trial court and increased former president Lula’s sentence.
This isn’t about the PT not defending Lula, it’s about it needing to also deal with the above-mentioned points, so that Brazil’s largest left-wing party can hold onto a reasonable reputation in society’s eyes and especially among its members and supporters who have lost faith in a party which they once believed defended popular causes and national sovereignty in keeping with the Democratic Rule of Law, respecting its laws.
The PT certainly has a hard-core membership, but that is only enough in a totalitarian and single-party Leftist State, which the Cuban people know all too well as they have suffered under a Communist dictatorship for almost 60 years. However, in a Democratic Rule of Law with its democratic institutions working like Brazil, a large left-wing party needs to recover its credibility which has been diminished because of serious offences.
In my opinion, by former president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva holding onto his position as a victim of the Brazilian justice system and even of the Federal Police, and also holding onto his neighborhood bravado, he is committing political suicide and taking the PT down with him.
The final stretch of the current electoral campaign
With just a few days left before the electoral campaign for the second round of elections between Jair Bolsonaro and PT’s Fernando Haddad ends, I must add: that Lula was certainly leading the polls in the run-up to the elections with 30-40% of the vote, and that in the face of Lula being banned from running as a presidential candidate, he passed on these votes to Haddad, which have led to him coming to heads with Bolsonaro for the presidency in the runoff round of elections.
What the PT didn’t bear in mind was that Brazilian society has rejected Lula and this was a greater percentage of people than his supporters and so he also passed this rejection on to Haddad; a lot of this rejection of Lula has benefitted Bolsonaro and he has adopted this in his anti-PT campaign, while the rest are only left with the option of choosing between two extremes on Brazil’s political spectrum.
This electoral setback could have been avoided if the PT hadn’t presented one of its own candidates and had agreed to forming a Leftist coalition with another more competitive candidate from another allied party.
All of these mistakes in the topics I’ve touched upon in this article have undoubtedly led to many left-wing, democratic, supporting voters falling into Bolsonaro’s arms, out of not having any other option and voting to reject the PT, by voting against corruption and for greater public safety.
I must also point out that the PT has come out of this electoral campaign strong by competing in the second round of presidential elections, for having earned the highest number of seats in Brazil’s Parliament, which makes it the greatest opposition party in its next legislature, there’s no doubt about that.
*Guest writer from Sao Paulo.